The patent literature is the world's largest and earliest open technology source for learning about technological innovation in a specific research area. However, for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students in Taiwan, reading an English-language patent application might be a challenging task, due to its special genre type and vocabulary features. It is also easy for EFL students to be overwhelmed by the huge amount of authentic English patent materials. Therefore, it is necessary to construct a supportive English for Specific Purposes (ESP) learning environment for learners to achieve better understanding of English-language patents. To meet these challenges, the current study aimed to integrate technology support (websites, patent search systems, patent glossaries, corpus and interactive software) to assist Taiwanese engineering students' understanding of English-language patents. To achieve the research goal, the researcher first conducted a needs analysis and developed a technology-enhanced English-language patent module for engineering graduate students. In addition, the study employed questionnaire surveys and interviews to investigate students' attitudes toward the technology-enhanced module. The results indicated that students' prior experiences with English-language patents were limited. In addition, students showed positive attitudes toward the module and the technology support. Based on the research results, this paper discusses the values and limitations of the study and provides some suggestions for future research.
Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) has been highlighted in recent years as one of the diversified pathways in post-secondary education. The current curriculum in Hong Kong also mentions a component named Vocational English (VE) which has been included in the VPET pathway since 2018. It is supported by a novel VE programme launched by the Education Bureau (EDB) to enhance students' English proficiency for vocational education and work. It also marks an attempt at the vocationalization of the English curriculum to prepare students for a smooth school-to-work transition. To provide sustainable articulation for students with an interest in and aptitude for the VPET pathway, Applied Learning (ApL) (Vocational English) was newly proposed in 2020 as an elective subject at the senior secondary level to prepare students for further studies or career pursuits. However, judging from the domain of English for Specific Purposes (ESP), successful VE should develop learners' disciplinary language, content knowledge and specialized task discourse for vocational purposes (Widodo, 2015). Therefore, this paper aims to investigate whether the suggested design and planning of the vocationalization of the English programme is effective, and to discuss whether it could better facilitate students' English learning for their development in the VPET pathway. Individual interviews and focus groups were conducted with students and teachers at the secondary and the post-secondary levels to consolidate their views on and perceptions of the VE programme. Findings of the current study indicate that the progress of vocationalization of English remains relatively stigmatized for both groups of interviewees owing to the low recognition level and the long-standing stereotype of vocational education in Hong Kong. The paper concludes with a concrete suggestion regarding the needed improvement for better implementation of the vocationalization of English through the VE program, which is crucial for facilitating the overall VPET development in Hong Kong.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has officially promoted English as the official language of the sea; hence, the learning of English for inter-ship, intra-ship, and ship-station communication using the Standard Marine Communication Phrases (SMCP) appears to be a necessity. Unfortunately, the New General Education Curriculum (NGEC 5) course, otherwise known as ＂purposive communication,＂ in Philippine higher education has no specific training for the improvement of communication in the said target situation. It would be very effective if this course could be improved through the integration of maritime-related activities. To achieve this, this study analyzed engine-deck communication activities using different approaches of the Communicative Needs Processor (CNP). The study found several reasons for learning English: English is an international language, to improve communication skills, to use it on board an international vessel, and for job interviews. Several communication tasks on board between the deck and engine department and among the engineering officers and crew have been identified as being helpful for updating a learning-centered course. Micro-functions and language forms have also been identified in the communication activities. The findings are useful for updating the syllabus and for designing instructional materials to be integrated into the teaching of communication utilizing the English language.
Due to the competitive nature of the global high-tech industry, English plays a central role as a lingua franca in communicating and exchanging information. As a result, many high-tech companies, including those in Vietnam, often require engineers to be equipped with field expertise and English abilities. In response to the lack of knowledge regarding the English skills needed by engineers in Vietnam's high-tech sector, this preliminary study investigates the English language needs and problems which Daikin engineers face in their workplace. For the purpose of the study, a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were employed to collect data. Thirty-two participants who were full-time engineers in a Daikin company located in Danang city, Vietnam, were recruited to fill out the questionnaire. Seven of them were later invited to take part in individual interviews. The questionnaire and interviews were both conducted online. The findings showed that reading and writing are the two most commonly-used skills in the workplace, including reading documents, emailing, communicating with customers, and contacting their bosses. However, we also found that both speaking and writing were ranked as the most difficult skills, indicating the challenges encountered by these engineers. In addition, a majority of engineers reported their lack of English use for speaking and listening, and so preferred to enhance these two skills in an ESP course in which they wanted to improve their vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and fluency. Therefore, based on the needs analysis of Daikin engineers, the researchers developed a syllabus with the focus on speaking and listening skills, and hope that it can be used to bridge the gap between these engineers' current ability and their language needs in their workplace.
In higher education, English-medium instruction (EMI) is considered to be a crucial approach to internationalization, equipping students with professional specialties and language skills for their future professions. Thus, universities in Taiwan have been strongly encouraging faculty to offer EMI courses. To facilitate more collaboration between EFL education professionals, and EMI teachers as part of the university's policy of internationalization, an EMI teacher learning community was formed and implemented in the Spring semester of 2020. Unlike the majority of previous EMI studies, which have tended to focus on EMI teachers and students, this study investigated four EMI trainers' critical reflections on the process of initiating, establishing, and sustaining a particular EMI learning community. The EMI trainers' reflections and survey responses of community participants were collected. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the questionnaire data. Drawing upon a specific theoretical framework of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), ethnographic content analysis was performed to examine the trainers' reflections. The discussion focused on three constructs of PLCs: professionalism, learning capacity, and sense of community. Participating teachers showed overall satisfaction with the implementation of the community, particularly the collaborative, engaging, and democratic atmosphere conducive to professional development. However, several challenges were encountered that triggered the EMI trainers' reflection, including the participating teachers' different experience, English proficiency levels, self-efficacy, actions to improve EMI pedagogic practices, attendance rate of community meetings, and lack of follow-up examination and an official advising mechanism. To conclude the study, pedagogical suggestions about EMI training will be provided.
Research on English for Specific Purposes has exclusively highlighted business letter teaching. However, studies on second language (L2) learners' motivations for business letter writing are limited. This study adopted the self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) to comprehensively explore L2 learners' motivations for business letter writing. From a qualitative research orientation, interview data, emails, and collected drawing interpretations from the pre-course, mid-course, and post-course stages were analyzed considering three assumed basic needs (autonomy, competence, and relatedness) and three motivation orientations (amotivation, extrinsic motivation, and intrinsic motivation). A Taiwanese EFL sophomore majoring in international business at the National University of Technology participated in the study. In addition to being a university student, the participant was an international sales assistant at a fastener company. Considering her practical experience, her learning motivation for business letter writing differed from that of an ordinary university student. The study findings unveiled that self-professional image, professional enhancement, fluent communication ability, and sales performance augmented the L2 learner's motivation for and effectiveness in business letter writing. The results further revealed that the learner gradually became more self-determined as she considered business letter writing to be relevant to her job in the mid-course stage. In the post-course stage, she became independent and inherently motivated because she believed that some methods enhanced her business letter writing skills. Finally, the participant became skilled at formal business letter expressions and applied them to her emails for her job. Accordingly, this study provides pedagogical implications for enhancing learners' motivation and effectiveness in English business letter writing.